In Pursuit Of Silence (2015) – documentary movie review

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In Pursuit Of SilenceMovie Review by EDF

Starring: George Prochnik, Pico Iyer, Helen Lees, Susan Cain
Director: Patrick Shen

What do most of us crave in the Hustle and bustle of this ever changing, fast paced world? A place where we can unplug, close out all the excess noise and gain some peace and quiet. If that is how you feel, here is a gentle documentary that will have you yearning for the quiet life.

Shots of tranquil, picturesque images of wind blowing through long grass with a solitary tree in the background is enough to relax a person. In fact the first few minutes of the documentary are devoid of sound and it somehow manages to take you out of your comfort zone. What unfolds is that no matter how beautiful and remote you may find yourself, there is always noise, no matter how ambient your surrounding is. These are good noises and the Japanese believe that going for meditative excursions in a forest could cure some ailments.
We investigate John Cage’s true intension when he “wrote” his 4’33” composition. In stark contrast, we also experience how loud “loud” really is against a backdrop of silence. A shot of hundreds of works observing two minute silence for Remembrance Day which then explodes into a harsh soundscape of noise after the 120 seconds are up is more disturbing than some of the quiet, quite, bang modern day horror movies. Companies are now looking to make their products quieter such as washing machines, kettles, hairdryers and so on. So in the pursuit of silence, do we find it? Does a place exist where there is total silence?

This is a very relaxing documentary to watch. It is almost like director Patrick Shen wants to drill the message into you, in a nice way, without going on top of a hill and shouting about it. The interviews with experts within this field are for the most part soft spoken and you do not feel that you are being preached to. It would be an interesting follow up to see how people in big cities deal with the constant sound from the urban jungle and how they find their peace within the chaotic noise. After watching this, your ears will finally be aware of the noises that surround you.

4 out of 6 stars